The Utah DMC Blog

Annie Cushing | DMC 2016

A Road Map to Analytics Mastery

Annie Cushing is the founder of Annielytics, specializing in web analytics, SEO, PPC, social media, and competitive analytics.

In her talk, Annie spoke about the 10 skills you need to succeed in Google Analytics (and that companies are desperate for their people to know). In today’s marketing industry, everyone wants someone with Google Analytics skills. There is a large amount of valuable data that can be found in Google Analytics.

Here are the 10 skills you need to successfully utilize Google Analytics:

Metrics & Dimensions 

To help people identify these better, Google has color-coated these; metrics in blue and dimensions in green. When you see blue in Google Analytics, that means it is a metric. When you see green in Google Analytics, that means it is a dimension of your data.

Standard Reports 

Standard reports are found on the left-hand side of Google Analytics. However, there are ways to create customized reports. By clicking on “Customization” found on the menu bar in Google Analytics, you can create a report customized to the data that you need.

Custom Reports

The advantage to custom reports is that you get the exact information you want. The only disadvantage is that you get sampling in the data. When creating your custom report, you can also add filters that further provide specifics on your data. Filters such as user specific data, conversion data, and more can be added to your custom report. 

Data Sampling

 It is important to know that if the number of sessions is above 250,000 in Google Analytics, Google is sampling your data as opposed to showing the total number of sessions. This allows for accurate reporting without a decrease in processing speed. Imagine if your site had to process the data for millions of visitors. That could slow things down.

Ecommerce Tracking

 eCommerce tracking is vital to businesses that earn revenue online. Annie recommends that you configure your site to be able to universally track any ecommerce related activity. Be sure to check ecommerce data on Google Analytics and that it links to your back end data. Annie also recommends to track your ecommerce data by product category to keep it as organized as possible.

Campaign Tagging

 It is important to understand when someone visits your site with a tracking code installed, it will track the medium, source, browser, country, and much more. With campaign tagging, you can create custom tags. Annie has created a great guide on campaign tagging that can be found here:

Custom Channels

 Custom channels are good for analysts because when creating one, it only affects the display of your data, as opposed to the underlying data. Anyone with access to your Google Analytics data can create them, via the Read & Analyze permission. The big advantage of custom channels is having the ability to apply them to historical data. Remember that if you create a custom channel grouping, you will need to share them with others because only the creator has the ability to see the custom channel.

Event Tracking

Tracking events via Google Analytics can provide a lot of additional data to your business. Use event tracking when you want to learn more about interaction with internal links. Avoid using event tracking when dealing with external links that lead to your site. Annie stresses that uses event tracking for external links will “trash your data”. The reason being that event tracking will not show the correct source of your site traffic.


 When using event tracking, custom channels, campaign tagging, or any other analytics tactics, ensure that your custom implementations do not affect your underlying data. If, for some reason, you notice something wrong with your views, you can copy the view and delete filters if needed.

These 10 tips from Annie will help digital marketers successfully utilize Google Analytics. The amount of data available to us today should be utilized at every opportunity and Annie provides great insight to ways that we can take advantage.

Topics: Event Recaps data analytics DMC2016